Franchitti, Pruett and Rojas Win Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring
Chip Ganassi Racing claimed overall victory in Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, becoming the first team to win the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500 and the 12-hour Florida endurance classic.
Marino Franchitti teamed with co-drivers Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas to take their No. 01 Riley-Ford to a narrow 4.682 second-victory over the No. 1 Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-03b of Ryan Dalziel, Scott Sharp and Ed Brown in second.
Class winners include CORE autosport (PC), Porsche North America (GTLM) and Magnus Racing (GTD).
Dalziel Back Out Front With One Hour To Go
Extreme Speed Motorsports is out front heading into the final hour of the 62nd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
The No. 1 HPD ARX-03b of Ryan Dalziel holds a narrow 8-second gap over Sebastien Bourdais’ No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP in second, in what’s been a rather unpredictable race up front between the two prototype platforms.
Olivier Pla is also still in contention, elevating his No. 42 OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan to third, with Marino Franchitti running in fourth, despite a spin in the hairpin with one hour and 16-minutes to go.
The No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Ford of Memo Rojas led the way heading into the final two hours but was passed by David Brabham, who opened up a lead in the No. 1 ESM HPD.
Rojas faced further drama during his pit stop 20 minutes later when he was hit from behind by the No. 9 Action Express Racing of Joao Barbosa and spun at the pit entry. No penalty was issued.
The No. 2 ESM HPD of Simon Pagenaud runs in fifth, also on the lead lap, rebounding from contact with the Paul Miller Racing Audi in the previous hour.
The fight for top honors in PC has been a two-way battle between the No. 54 CORE autosport Oreca FLM09 and No. 09 RSR Racing entry, with Colin Braun now out front ahead of Bruno Junqueira.
GTLM is currently being led by the No. 93 SRT Motorsports Viper GTS-R of Jonathan Bomarito, with Patrick Long closely in pursuit in the No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR.
The No. 23 Team Seattle/Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America paces GTD, with Alex Riberas holding a 15-second lead over the No. 44 Magnus Racing entry of Andy Lally in second.
Veteran No. 01 Team In Control As Sun Goes Down
Night has fallen at Sebring International Raceway and a few things have altered the complexion of the race heading into the final two hours of the 62nd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Memo Rojas has the lead in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford EcoBoost Riley, but any of eight or nine Prototype class cars could capture the overall win.
Joao Barbosa led at the nine-hour mark in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP, while each of the top eight Prototypes were on the same lap.
Eighth-hour leaders Extreme Speed Motorsports’ No. 2 HPD ARX-03b driven by Johannes van Overbeek made contact with Bryce Miller’s No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Audi R8 LMS on exit to Turn 17, with the ensuing cosmetic damage sending the ESM car to the pits.
The ninth full-course yellow flew with three hours and 36 minutes remaining as the left front tire became dislodged from the No. 009 TRG-AMR Aston Martin Vantage entering Turn 7.
Later over the next couple hours there was a great battle as David Brabham in the No. 1 HPD ARX-03b got around Barbosa on the inside of Turn 7 for the lead. Just behind, Sage Karam in the No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford EcoBoost Riley got around Barbosa shortly thereafter.
At the nine hour and 20-minute mark, the tenth full course yellow flew when Scuderia Corsa’s No. 63 Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 stopped on driver’s right of the exit to Turn 16.
Just prior to that yellow, Brabham took the opportunity to pit while others would need to pit during the caution.
On the restart, Rojas in the sister Ganassi entry (the No. 01) passed Brabham for the lead on the restart. Shortly thereafter, Scott Dixon had a spin in the 02 when he lost control on the back side of the circuit, hit a sign board, then rejoined in front of oncoming traffic.
In the other classes, James Gue (No. 54 CORE autosport) and David Heinemeier Hansson (No. 09 RSR Racing) enjoyed a fantastic battle for the PC class lead, although CORE had a minor setback on a pit stop when the team initially put in the wrong seat insert for Colin Braun, who was due to take over the car. Bruno Junqueira later took over the RSR entry.
GTLM saw the No. 4 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R up front prior to the 10th yellow, ahead of the No. 93 SRT Motorsports SRT Viper GTS-R and No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR. Like the P class, more than five cars were still on the lead lap (six in total) entering the final two and a half hours.
The sister No. 3 Corvette C7.R had a fuel pump replaced in the ninth hour, which was repaired in less than 12 minutes.
In GTD, the No. 555 AIM Autosport Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 led from the No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 GT3 and No. 35 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 LMS midway through the 10th hour.
But by the end of the 10th hour, Marco Seefried in the No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT America passed the No. 94 Turner BMW, driven by Markus Palttala, for the class lead. Mario Farnbacher in the No. 23 Team Seattle/AJR Porsche 911 GT America is also in contention.
Four Hours Remain In The Mobil Twelve Hours Of Sebring
At the eight-hour mark, Johannes van Overbeek is leading overall and in Prototypes aboard the No. 2 Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-03b at the 62nd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, as the race has begun to settle into a rhythm following a caution-filled first six hours.
A series of either current or former open-wheel stars – Tony Kanaan, Simon Pagenaud, Ryan Dalziel and Christian Fittipaldi – were among the lead drivers battling for the overall lead.
ESM’s pair of P2-spec HPDs have been consistently on the pace and close to, if not exceeding, times set by the Corvette and Ford EcoBoost Riley DPs.
Dalziel led at the halfway mark and his teammate, Pagenaud, had the lead by the seven-hour mark.
“It’s getting better with the rubber coming down on the track with the Continental tires,” Pagenaud said after his stint. “I got in a really good rhythm. One of those sweet moments in racing when you get in a bubble. Traffic was getting easier because there are so many DNFs.”
Other leaders at the seven-hour mark included the No. 09 RSR Racing Oreca FLM09 (PC), No. 3 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R (GTLM), despite several minor incidents throughout the race, and the No. 555 AIM Autosport Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 (GTD).
Come the eight-hour mark, the second batch of Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup points for this race were awarded. Leaders at the eight-hour mark besides the overall leaders include the No. 4 Corvette C7.R (GTLM), No. 54 CORE autosport Oreca FLM09 (PC) and No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 GT3 (GTD).
One of the few prototype cars to hit trouble in this sequence was Action Express Racing’s No. 9 Corvette DP, although not for anything car-related. Brian Frisselle’s illness after his first stint meant he’s been ruled out the remainder of the race, leaving the car to just brother Burt Frisselle and Jon Fogarty.
Meanwhile several cars in both the GTLM and GTD cars have had issues over the last couple hours. The No. 91 SRT Motorsports SRT Viper GTS-R, driven by Ryan Hunter-Reay, had a spin in Turn 17 and backed into the tire barrier. That broke the car’s diffuser, rear wing and bumper.
Later on, three GTD class Porsche 911 GT Americas and a solitary Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 LMS had additional woes. GB Autosport’s Damien Faulkner in the No. 81 Porsche had two flat left rear tires; Rum Bum/Snow Racing’s Madison Snow in the No. 13 Porsche had a fuel pressure alarm go off, and the Magnus Racing No. 44 Porsche driven by Andy Lally made a pit stop to fix an air compressor on the car’s paddle shift system.
Flying Lizard’s No. 45 car had multiple punctures, two of which were related to contact.
Near the eight-hour mark, Michael Christensen in the No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR contacted Paolo Ruberti in the No. 49 Spirit of Race Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 at Turn 7. However, Christensen was not assessed a penalty.
Twelve Hours of Sebring Reaches Halfway Mark
The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring is under the eighth full-course caution at the halfway mark of what’s been an accident-filled race thus far.
At least four Prototype Challenge cars have been destroyed, the latest two coming in a Turn 16 wreck between the No. 87 BAR1 Motorsports Oreca FLM09 of Gaston Kearby and Alex Tagliani’s No. 08 RSR Racing entry.
Kearby spun and rejoined in front of the open-wheel star, who was running inside the top-three at the time. Both drivers climbed from the car, although team owner Paul Gentilozzi said Tagliani may have a hand injury.
This latest accident came just two hours after a brief red flag period for another two-car PC collision in Turn 17 involving David Ostella and Frankie Montecalvo, which also saw both drivers escape serious injury.
More than half of the race has been run under caution.
Up front, the No. 1 Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-03b of Ryan Dalziel is credited as the overall leader at the six-hour mark, ahead of Christian Fittipaldi’s No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP in second.
Alex Brundle has put the No. 24 OAK Racing Morgan Nissan in third, followed by the No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Ford of Tony Kanaan in fourth. The top six cars are all on the lead lap.
Trouble has struck both the Muscle Milk Pickett Racing Oreca 03 Nissan (driveline) and No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP (throttle sensor) in the last two hours, taking both Prototype class cars out of contention.
GTLM is currently being led by the No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR of Joerg Bergmeister, closely in pursuit by the No. 93 SRT Motorsports Viper GTS-R of Rob Bell in second.
Trouble for the No. 3 Corvette, No. 911 Porsche and No. 56 BMW, all of which suffered bodywork damage from minor accidents, have set the cars down the running order.
Only five of the nine PC cars remain in the race, led by the No. 54 CORE autosport Oreca FLM09 of Colin Braun, who has a four-second advantage over the No. 09 RSR Racing entry of Bruno Junqueira in second.
An incident involving the No. 25 8Star Motorsports car of Eric Lux and Paul Dalla Lana’s Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 GT3 sent the PC contending 8Star car behind the wall in the sixth hour for repairs. It has since rejoined the action.
GTD is being led by the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 of Jeff Westphal, ahead of the recovering Dalla Lana in second and the Rolex 24 class winner Townsend Bell in the No. 555 AIM Autosport Ferrari in third.
Action Express Racing In Control As We Approach The Halfway Mark
The stopped No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP, driven by Mike Rockenfeller and parked just shy of Turn 17, has brought out the seventh full course caution of the 62nd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring as the race surpasses the five-hour mark.
Much of the fourth hour was spent either under yellow or red flag conditions and Rockenfeller stopped on course just before the five-hour mark, when the race restarted. Rockenfeller reported in an apparent throttle sensor issue, and took the car behind the wall.
While under this yellow, the No. 07 SpeedSource Mazda SKYACTIV-D was being towed back after stopping on track with a left rear wheel issue.
Prior to that, following the restart from the sixth full course caution, there was another incident of contact involving the No. 46 Fall-Line Motorsports Audi R8 LMS, No. 81 GB Autosport Porsche 911 GT America and at least one other GTD car on entry to Turn 17. All resumed after losing more time on track.
In-between, much of the field completed their latest round of pit stops.
Up front, Action Express Racing ascended back to the lead in the No. 5 Corvette DP in the hands of Sebastien Bourdais, ahead of the surging No. 1 Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-03b of Ryan Dalziel. Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 02 Ford EcoBoost Riley fell to third.
Colin Braun led in PC for CORE autosport in the team’s No. 54 Oreca FLM09 ahead of the pair of RSR Racing entries.
Porsche led in both GTLM and GTD with the No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR up front in GTLM, with Alex Job’s pair of the No. 22 and 23 Porsche 911 GT Americas 1-2 in GTD.
One other car that has gone behind the wall in the last hour is the No. 6 Muscle Milk Pickett Racing Oreca 03 Nissan, with a driveline issue.
Points for the top three in each of the four classes issued at the four-hour mark for the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup have been revealed.
In P, the top three are Nos. 02, 5 and 1 who receive, 5, 4 and 3 points, respectively. In PC, the top three were Nos. 52, 09 and 08; in GTLM, Nos. 91, 4 and 912; and GTD, Nos. 94, 63 and 44.
Just Past The Four-Hour Mark of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring
The race was briefly red flagged after an accident involving two PC class cars. But at four hours and 22 minutes, though, the race was put back to yellow flag conditions.
David Ostella ran wide in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca FLM09 on the exit of Turn 17 and smacked the outside retaining wall. After the contact, his car careened into to the path of Frankie Montecalvo in the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca FLM09, who had nowhere to go.
Due to the accident and time needed for repairs, IMSA put the field under a red flag at the four hour and 14 minute mark.
Both drivers climbed from the car under their own power and were taken to the infield care center.
Up front, the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP was assessed a stop-and-hold plus 60-second penalty for entering the pit lane after it closed. That dropped Max Angelelli from outside the top three to outside the top 10.
Meanwhile, on a restart just before the clock hit four hours, Sage Karam passed Angelelli on the outside of Turn 1, then later in the lap passed Sebastien Bourdais to the inside on Turn 10. That propelled the No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford EcoBoost Riley back to the lead.
Other leaders at the four-hour mark, where points are awarded for the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup, included the PR1′s No. 52 in PC, the No. 91 SRT Motorsports SRT Viper GTS-R (GTLM) and No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 GT3 (GTD).
The BMW returned to the lead in class of GTD courtesy of strategy called by team strategist Don Salama.
Besides Ganassi and Turner BMW, other class leaders at the red flag were the No. 4 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R (GTLM) and No. 09 RSR Racing Oreca FLM09 (PC).
Two other GTLM cars had issues within the last hour. The No. 56 BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE pitted for extended repairs, to fix the nose, a puncture and the splitter on the car. Meanwhile the repaired No. 3 Corvette C7.R had a flat left rear tire when the caution flew.
Trouble has struck a number of GTLM contenders in the third hour of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Risi Competizione appears to be out of the race following a heavy accident by Matteo Malucelli, who backed his No. 62 Ferrari F458 Italia into the Turn 1 barriers.
The Italian driver rejoined but was then hit from behind by the No. 30 MOMO NGT Motorsport Porsche 911 GT America of Christina Nielsen, as well as collecting Dirk Werner’s No. 56 BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE.
The multi-car accident brought out the fourth full-course caution of the race and put a dramatic twist on the GTLM battle.
There were issues also for the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR of Patrick Pilet, who lost five laps for repairs to the car’s nose after making contact with a spinning PC car prior to Malucelli’s incident.
As a result, it’s currently a SRT Viper 1-2 in GTLM, with the No. 4 Corvette C7.R running third in class while still under the safety car.
Up front, the No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Ford of Scott Dixon leads the way overall, ahead of Sebastien Bourdais’ No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP and the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP of Max Angelelli in third.
The No. 09 RSR Racing Oreca FLM09 of Duncan Ende continues to pace PC, while Mario Farnbacher leads the way in GTD aboard the No. 23 Team Seattle/AJR Porsche.
Prior to the Ferrari’s accident, there were two other cautions for PC cars stranded on circuit.
Green Flag Drops On The Second Hour Sebring
A quick pit stop and driver change for the No. 6 Oreca 03 Nissan put Klaus Graf out ahead of Max Angelelli’s Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP by eight seconds.
The pole-sitting No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP, which led through the majority of the hour, fell back to third following a slow pit stop late in the second hour.
Racing resumed midway through the second hour following a 59-minute full-course caution period for the No. 33 Riley Motorsports Viper GT3-R, which suffered a fire.
Driver Ben Keating climbed from the car uninjured but the new GT3-based entry nearly burnt to the ground as fire crews fought the blaze.
“I looked in my rearview mirror and it was like Back to the Future,” Keating said. “I saw the two streaks of flames coming out of the back of the car in the camera before there was any smoke.
“So I got on the radio and said, ‘guys I’m on fire. I’m getting out.’ I hit the fire button, hopped out… There was no flames or smoke inside the car when I got out. No smoke inhalation, no burns, no issues other than a melted car.”
The lengthy caution reshuffled the running order and fuel strategy, which saw the No. 0 DeltaWing DWC13 restart as the leader prior to Andy Meyrick making his first stop.
GTLM is currently paced by the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia of Gianmaria Bruni, ahead of the No. 912 Porsche North America entry in second.
The No. 3 Corvette C7.R dropped one lap behind at the end of the opening hour when Antonio Garcia was sandwiched between a BMW Z4 GT3 and Nick Tandy’s Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 RSR, resulting in a nose, brake duct and engine floor change for the Corvette.
PC is now led by the pole-sitting No. 09 RSR Racing Oreca FLM09 of Duncan Ende, which retook the top spot following the recent round of pit stop.
The No. 46 Fall-Line Motorsports Audi R8 LMS of Christopher Mies, yet to make its second stop of the race, paces the GTD class.
No. 33 Riley Motorsports SRT Viper GT3-R Driven By Ben Keating Catches Fire
An ignited fire left the 62nd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring under yellow at the one-hour mark, with Andy Meyrick leading overall and in the Prototype class in the No. 0 DeltaWing DWC13 coupe.
Meyrick, who co-drives with Katherine Legge and Gabby Chaves, opted not to pit on the first yellow flag while the rest of the leaders did.
Under that yellow, which waved around the 20-minute mark for David Cheng’s stalled No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Oreca FLM09 PC car on the inside of Turn 5, Ben Keating stopped his No. 33 Riley Motorsports SRT Viper GT3-R on track just past that, at the right-handed Turn 6 kink.
Keating’s Viper began to blaze underneath the chassis, and he escaped out of the car under his own power before the car suffered further damage. The fire extended what was already bordering on a 20-minute long yellow flag period.
Prior to the caution, the polesitting No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP led overall from pole in the hands of Joao Barbosa. Ricky Taylor jumped to second in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP ahead of Olivier Pla in the No. 42 OAK Racing Morgan Nissan.
In PC, polesitter Bruno Junqueira led in the No. 09 RSR Racing Oreca FLM09. Fellow class polesitter, the No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR now started by Patrick Long, led in GTLM until the caution.
James Davison moved into the lead early in GTD in the No. 07 TRG-AMR Aston Martin Vantage, taking over from new class polesitter Leh Keen in the No. 22 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America.
Keen inherited the pole after the polesitting No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 GT3 started from the rear due to an unspecified issue, and later had a drive-through penalty assessed.
Other class leaders at the one-hour mark besides Meyrick (P) and Junqueira (PC) were Kuba Giermaziak (No. 30 MOMO NGT Motorsport Porsche 911 GT America, GTD) and Kuno Wittmer (No. 93 SRT Motorsport SRT Viper GTS-R, GTLM).
***Park Place Motorsports will focus its efforts on the No. 73 Porsche 911 GT America, with the team’s No. 71 car to be parked after the opening stint due to a “business decision that was best for the team.” Dr. Jim Norman will get seat time in both cars and will be joined by Kevin Estre, Patrick Lindsey and Mike Vess in the No. 73 car.
***Park Place team manager Brock Wagner told Sportscar365 they fully intend to return to a two-car, full-race program for the rest of the season, which will see Norman be rejoined by Craig Stanton in the No. 71 car. Wagner said the recent update of driver ratings played a role in the team’s decision for Sebring, as Porsche Junior Connor De Phillippi remained Gold-rated despite efforts to move the 21-year-old to Silver status.
***The GTD pole-sitting Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 GT3 will see Paul Dalla Lana at the wheel, despite some questions over the former GRAND-AM driver’s involvement earlier this week. Dalla Lana sat out Friday’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race and was replaced by Boris Said.
***Longtime Honda Performance Development technical director Roger Griffiths resigned from the California-based company on Thursday. No details have been given on Griffiths’ surprise departure.
***A number of cars, including the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Riley-Ford, are expected to start from the rear of the 63-car grid due to one or multiple drivers in each lineup not completing the mandatory three-lap minimum in Thursday night practice.
***Prototype teams will be running on Continental Tire’s “Blacks” tire construction for the first time this season, which will be used for all non-roval circuits in the TUDOR Championship season.
***Chip Ganassi Racing has placed a large scissor lift in a RV slot in Turn 1 for its spotter to have a bird’s eye view of the 3.7-mile circuit. The team will be searching for its first finish of the season following an uncharacteristic Rolex 24 at Daytona.
***TUDOR Championship debutants Rum Bum Racing and AIM Autosport qualified 7th and 8th in GTD respectively, a class that’s widely considered to be the most competitive in the series.
***While Sebastien Bourdais’ 1:51.907 lap time in qualifying may seem fast, Audi’s new R18 e-tron quattro reportedly was lapping in the 1:42 range here last week in pre-season testing for the FIA World Endurance Championship. For the first time in more than 15 years, LMP1 cars are not allowed in the 12-hour.
***Corvette Racing debuted a colossal new inflatable paddock setup, which has quickly become a hit with fans and teams alike. According to a team representative, the setup was inspired by the NFL pre-game team runout structures. It takes roughly 10 minutes to fully inflate with air.
***On Friday, the Sebring Hall of Fame inducted five new members: Bob Tullius, Wayne Taylor, Vic Elford, Peter Gregg and Brumos Racing. A lunch celebration was held, along with a media breakfast hosted by Continental Tire.
***Corvette Racing’s Jan Magnussen will miss being on site for son Kevin’s Formula One debut in the Australian Grand Prix. The younger Magnussen will drive an McLaren MP4-29 Mercedes in the race.
***This race marks the 100th race for Krohn Racing’s pairing of Tracy Krohn and Nic Jonsson. Andrea Bertolini joins them in the Krohn green-colored No. 57 Ferrari F458 Italia in the GTLM class.